Plato: The Apology vs. The Allegory of the Cave

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In The Apology, Socrates begins by separating himself from his fellow philosophers and those who came before him. His main argument rests on the assumption that his wisdom is justified by his understanding that he does not possess all knowledge, nor does Socrates attempt to persuade others into thinking he does. Given this, Socrates attests that he has made it his life’s duty to question those who claim to be experts. Socrates upholds that philosophy is a way of life; the unifying theme of his life is to question knowledge, therefore, the questioning of knowledge must be Socrates’ philosophy. This philosophy contradicts with that of other philosophers, whose beliefs rest on the pursuit and building of knowledge. It can be concluded that other philosophers aspire to obtain as much knowledge as possible, while Socrates is in search of only the underlying truth. Knowledge is the common idea of The Apology and The Allegory of the Cave. The Allegory serves as a metaphor that illustrates the effects of knowledge on the human spirit. It begins with a group of people, trapped in a dark cave since birth. The people are bound such that they can only see the back of the cave. Behind them is a fire. The fire casts shadows of the outside world onto the walls of the cave. Their minds are free to construct stories of what these shadows mean and how to interpret them. This limited perception and false truth created by the imaginations of the cave men can represent the most basic of knowledge; that which has yet to see the truth: the imagination. The Allegory of the Cave represents the pursuit of knowledge in the form a stages. The first stage being that of imagination, where man has so little knowledge that he is forced to construct his own truths. After being set free, the truth is revealed, and man attains a belief in new possibilities. Subsequently, man leaves

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